I doubt there’s a group that makes larger mountains over the littlest of mole hills than people in recovery or those in dire need of it. We have the talent of building things up to greater and greater volumes of _________(you may insert the word ‘crap’ in here if you wish). So much so that it becomes overwhelming. Of course we relapse. Who could shoulder the weight of that mountain of stress?
How does this happen to us? We let it happen by allowing the little stuff to grow in our minds in an uncontrolled manner. If you’re new to recovery, it’s an untrained mind on top of it all. Even an “X” on your yearly coin is no guarantee that your mind won’t race wildly in any and all directions. It was ‘suggested’ to me in early sobriety that I begin a journal where I could write down some thoughts and perhaps see the progress. And like so many good newbies in recovery, I agreed that it was a good idea; and did nothing about it.
I started my journaling project about four years into recovery and have been lightly kicking myself ever since. It has been so worthwhile. Probably the greatest benefit for me has been my writing’s ability to bring the mountain down to size. I discovered that problems swirl and somersault in my mind. There’s often a three ring circus happening, the clowns are chasing after the monkeys and the ringmaster has gone for his lunch break.
Writing forces me to put things down concretely. It makes me seek the correct words for what is happening and how I am feeling. By writing it down, I can see the problem for what it really is, without all the drama that my mind likes to add on. It makes the problem ‘right sized’. Once I really get rid of the clowns and monkeys I am better able to look for solutions. I am able to apply the Serenity Prayer to discover what is within my ability to control and what is not. I can reason out various paths that will help to resolve what is going on in my life. By journaling, I find I am in the solution and not stuck in the problem.
It really doesn’t matter how you do it. Writing in a leather bound book is nice, but a school workbook will do just as well. I also use and online journaling site www.penzu.com that a friend introduced me to not long ago. Here it can be double and triple password encrypted if you feel the need. The important thing is that you get it down somewhere. Start small, just a few thoughts in the morning. It’s also a good way to begin or end your morning meditation. Just Write It!
“The longest journey is the journey within,” said Dag Hammarskjöld. Your journey can begin with a single step and that first step can be a journal.